What to Consider Before Adopting a Pet
It can happen to the best of us. You see a cute, tiger-striped
kitten with white paws and green eyes, just begging for attention. Or
maybe it's a gorgeous Labrador mix whose tails seems to be wagging
just for you. You take one look, and the next thing you know, you're
walking down the pet food aisle at the supermarket.
If you're like most of us, falling in love with a pet is easy. And
no wonder! Sharing your home with a four-legged friend can be one of
life's greatest joys. Dogs, cats, and other pets give us
unconditional loyalty and acceptance, provide constant companionship,
and even help relieve stress after a hard day's work.
Adopting a pet, though, is a big decision. Dogs and cats require
lots of time, money, and commitment—over 15 years' worth in many
cases. Pet ownership can be rewarding, but only if you think through
your decision before you adopt a companion.
Things to Consider
The fact that you're thinking about adopting from an animal
shelter means you're a responsible and caring person. But before
you make that decision to bring a furry friend into your life, take a
moment to think over these questions:
· Why do
you want a pet? It's amazing how many people fail to ask
themselves this simple question before they get a pet.
Adopting a pet just because it's "the thing to do" or
because the kids have been pining for a puppy usually ends up being a
big mistake. Don't forget that pets may be with you 10, 15, even 20
· Do you
have time for a pet? Dogs, cats, and other animal companions
cannot be ignored just because you're tired or busy. They require
food, water, exercise, care, and companionship every day of every
year. Many animals in the shelter are there because their owners
didn't realize how much time it took to care for them.
· Can you
afford a pet? The costs of pet ownership can be quite high.
Licenses, training classes, spaying and neutering, veterinary care,
grooming, toys, food, kitty litter, and other expenses add up
· Are you
prepared to deal with special problems that a pet can cause? Flea
infestations, scratched-up furniture, accidents from animals who
aren't yet housetrained, and unexpected medical emergencies are
unfortunate but common aspects of pet ownership.
· Can you
have a pet where you live? Many rental communities don't allow
pets, and most of the rest have restrictions. Make sure you know what
they are before you bring a companion animal home.
· Is it a
good time for you to adopt a pet? If you have kids under six
years old, for instance, you might consider waiting a few years before
you adopt a companion. Pet ownership requires children who are mature
enough to be responsible. If you're a student, in the military, or
travel frequently as part of your work, waiting until you settle down
· Are your
living arrangements suitable for the animal you have in mind?
Animal size is not the only variable to think about here. For
example, some small dogs such as terriers are very active—they
require a great deal of exercise to be calm, and they often bark at
any noise. On the other hand, some big dogs are laid back and quite
content to lie on a couch all day. Before adopting a pet, do some
research. That way, you'll ensure you choose an animal who will fit
into your lifestyle and your living arrangements.
· Do you
know who will care for your pet while you're away on vacation?
You'll need either reliable friends and neighbors or money to pay for
a boarding kennel or pet-sitting service.
· Will you
be a responsible pet owner? Having your pet spayed or neutered,
obeying community leash and licensing laws, and keeping
identification tags on your pets are all part of being a responsible
owner. Of course, giving your pet love, companionship, exercise, a
healthy diet, and regular veterinary care are other essentials.
are you prepared to keep and care for the pet for his or her entire
lifetime? When you adopt a pet, you are making a commitment to
care for the animal for his or her lifetime.
Get an Animal for Life
Sure, it's a long list of questions. But a quick stroll through an
animal shelter will help you understand why answering them before
you adopt is so important.
Many of the shelter's homeless animals are puppies and kittens,
victims of irresponsible people who allowed their pets to breed. But
there are at least as many dogs and cats at the shelter who are more
than a year old—animals who were obtained by people who didn't think
through the responsibilities of pet ownership before they got the
Please, don't make the same mistake. Think before you
adopt. Sharing your life with a companion animal can bring incredible
rewards, but only if you're willing to make the necessary commitments
of time, money, responsibility, and love—for the life of the pet.
Are all household members in agreement
about adopting a dog and willing to be present for a home visit?
Are your current pets neutered,
up-to-date on vaccinations and current on heartworm preventative
Are you ready to adopt within the next
few weeks? Are you willing to travel to Valentine, NE. to pick up
your dog if you are approved?
Are you completely committed to
working through any behavioral issues your dog may have including
housebreaking, chewing, barking, digging, etc?
Are you willing to go through each
step in the adoption process, as follows:
All of these steps must be completed prior to adoption
checking. Please contact your veterinarian and personal
references to let them know we will be calling and to release
information to us. Also, please be sure to list accurate
telephone numbers of your references.
Home Visit. This home visit provides us an opportunity
to get to know you and for you to get to know more about us
and the rescue dog you are interested in adopting.
- An adoption
contract and non-refundable Adoption Fee is due at the time of
adoption. (The only exception to our refund policy is if the
dog has a life threatening illness, which was unknown to us
and present at the time of adoption and you choose to
surrender/return the dog to BWBR.)
Adoptions include the following:
or neutered prior to adoption
for temperament and trainability
on ALL shots
and on preventative during the season, as well as frontline
a dental check and
cleaning if necessary
Groomed and treated
for any necessary medical conditions.
We will consider long distance adoptions, as
long as a home visit can be completed
Approved adopter must be willing to travel to Valentine, NE to
pick up their new family member.
We will help with transport when possible.
We do NOT ship dogs by air.
We do require a fence; however, exceptions
to this will depend on our assessment. We do not approve the
use of invisible fencing. We expect that our dogs
will be part of a family, not housed outside in a kennel or
chained. Applicants should understand that we expect these dogs to
be treated as members of your family.
The foster dogs are not
available to be seen until AFTER an adoption application is
completed. (Unless prior arrangements are approved by BWBR.) Please
understand that we are trying to find a responsible, loving and
stable home for our very special rescue dogs that have lost their
homes for reasons outside their control. For this reason the
application process must be very thorough. We strive to place our
rescued dogs in homes that will provide a Lifetime
home. We do not want to put any dog through the adoption process
more than once.
Note: During the adoption process we review
applications, conduct telephone interviews, call references, and
conduct home visits. Our ultimate goal is to place each pet in our
care into a home best matching the lifestyle and environment that
individual pet requires. Maintaining this attention to detail is
one reason why our placement success ratio to date is 100%. We want
to make sure that the match is there and once the dog gets adopted
this will be without a doubt its lifetime family.
BWBR does not have a facility and relies solely on the kindness of
volunteers to foster our dogs. Each of these volunteers leads a
busy life with their own family and their own pets to care for in
addition to the volunteer work they do for us.
Consequently, we will make arrangements for you to meet the pets in
foster care after the adoption application has been completed.
Proceed To Application Page